What it is: Petfinder.com provides a searchable list of pets from thousands of shelters and adoption groups around North America. Started as a New Year’s resolution by its two co-founders, it enables shelter animals to have exposure to potential adopters 24 hours a day, seven days a week—and it was the first of its kind.
How it works: Go to Petfinder.com and plug in your search criteria, including your location. Petfinder doesn’t advocate sight-unseen adoptions, but with over 350,000 pets at any given time, chances are you’ll find one in your own area.
Why it’s unique: “Petfinder allows people to take their time when searching for the pet that’s right for them—without having to stand in a shelter and feel pressure or guilt,” explains Kim Saunders, vice president of shelter outreach and public relations. “You can go through [the list of homeless animals] on Petfinder with both your head and your heart.” Most of Petfinder’s animals are cats and dogs, but rabbits are close behind—and you can even find less conventional pets, like pigs, tarantulas, sheep, frogs, horses, snakes, and alpacas.